Although Valentine’s Day is most often recognized as a holiday celebrating romantic love, some Aggies are shifting the focus to another important relationship: one with themselves.
Political science senior Ariana Chalajour said she is immensely passionate about self-care on a daily basis, and she believes spending time on her own well-being has drastically improved her life.
“I would say it’s improved my mental health so much,” Chalajour said. “You think that [by] blocking off a portion of your day or even an entire day, you're wasting so much time, but you’re giving yourself so much more time because during the week you’re going to be more refreshed and more productive.”
Chalajour said that while her commitment to self-care is often a full day, self-care looks different for every person.
“I feel like a lot of people have this misconception that self-care has to be taking a bubble bath or drinking tea, but for me, self-care is more like cleaning my apartment after a busy week,” Chalajour said. “For me, a clean space gives me a clean mind, [so] that way I can work.”
Self-care is relevant and should be maintained by everyone, Chalajour said.
“I know a lot of boys who are like, ‘Self-care is girly,’ but when you play video games that is self-care,” Chalajour said. “That is something you do for you!”
As a college student tasked with balancing academic and social life, self-care can become difficult. Engineering freshman Genna Schulz said last semester she realized she didn’t focus much on self-care.
“At one point last semester, I was really tired. I wasn’t getting much sleep, [and] I was doing all my homework last-minute. I wasn’t taking very good care of myself,” Schulz said. “There was this week where I was just half-asleep and half-awake, and I would just lose chunks of my memory. I was just wandering through the days.”
Schulz said self-care comes in many forms, depending on an individual’s interests.
“If you need to journal just to vent out, do that. If you need to see a therapist do that,” Schulz said. “Drawing helped me a lot because it connects my heart to my pen, and it just flows on the paper. I think self-care is very important because we don’t actually stress it enough.”
History junior Kat Skrim said self-care for her mental health can look different than her peers.
“I have mental health issues, so for me, self-care is doing things like getting out of bed, remembering to take a shower, to eat something, going to bed on time, taking my meds [and] remembering to do my homework so I don’t have to forget about it and try to do it two hours before it’s due,” Skrim said.
Skrim said monitoring your daily habits is helpful for improving mental health, even if you don’t have diagnosed mental health issues.
“They’re the things that make mental health problems seem a little bit easier to deal with,” Skrim said. “They help me feel a little bit more human than if I were to stay in bed all day. Doing those things to relieve your stress … [is] good for your mental health.”
Even if you don’t have a partner on Valentine’s Day, Skrim said this is a great opportunity to show kindness to yourself.
“Especially with Valentine’s Day, self-care is your way of loving yourself,” Skrim said. “Even if you don’t have someone to bring you flowers and chocolate, get yourself flowers and chocolate. You don’t need someone else to feel like, ‘I am loved; I am cherished; I am cared for.’”
Schulz said it was important to recognize how Valentine’s Day is not just a romantic holiday but also an opportunity to appreciate the world around you.
“You don’t have to be in a relationship to appreciate Valentine’s Day,” Schulz said. “Valentine’s Day is about expressing your love, not being in love.”